Hi guys wow it was wonderful being a part of this workshop, I hope you guys are well and hope to see you all again.
Here’s a link from a woman called Louis Bennet, a poet, an author and activist who me and people proud of our language known as Patwah (jamaican creole). Hope you guys find this informative and be proud of your culture.
I wrote, Thou Shalt Not Kill, as I was really struck by how despite the fact that Stephen Lawrence was murdered, there is so much of him still alive somehow. And after spending a week in the Stephen Lawrence centre and seeing his pictures in the reception area, I wanted to pay tribute, not only to the people that pushed for Stephen’s case to be brought to media attention and to the centre, but also to the strength of the human spirit, that can still reign despite every injustice.
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged after hearing about injustices such as the murder of Stephen Lawrence, mainly because it often is so overwhelming and discouraging. But I wanted to use this feeling and take inspiration from Stephen Lawrence to create a poem that highlights that together we can be much stronger than any gang, knife or racist crime and the injustices that arise as a consequence. – Selina Nwulu
Thou Shalt Not Kill a poem for Stephen Lawrence who would be 36 on 14th September 2010.
Here is the image of a man-child Eyes wide, Future Full Black and white lines on his shirt Snapped hope ‘93
Political gangsters Squat on humanity As it sinks further, deep In pain and misery Swirls in red tape and the queen’s democracy
Democracy becomes Blood drenched Stabbed, five inches deep Justice made blind
Moral imposters Banking on flimsy legislation Minds behind those black and white lines Blood on their hands, Drip drops a trail on the ground Swirls turn justice monochrome
You miss the colors You miss the freedom love can bring You miss Everything an 18-year-old saw and you didn’t
Impotent fools Loaded with steel hatred Unaware that The pen will forever trump the blade
The power you crave from that Phallic metallic stick… We are repelled Powerless powerless fools
Thou shalt not kill A battle waiting to be won Thou shalt not kill Education. Words from a mother to a son Thou shalt not kill Knowledge. The wisdom to walk away Thou shalt not kill…
Lots of unknowns – we’d registered a big group of participants but who would turn up? Would our collaboration between the artists work? Would we get the balance right between serious politics, art, and hope: our case studies are heavy. We are focusing on the Ogoni struggle for environmental justice in Nigeria through the life and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and considering it alongside the conditions that led to the murder of Stephen Lawrence at a bus stop in Eltham in 1993, and all the wider ramifications.
So all of us were pretty happy to meet the group and hear from them…quiet-seeming, very switched on and thoughtful participants who know why they were doing the course and what their stake in it is. 9 women and 5 men, the majority describing themselves as of African-Caribbean descent, with some young people of Kurdish, Chinese, Sri Lankan, and white English backgrounds. London in all her glory.
They brought up a range of political concerns coming out of the themes, from sex-trafficking to youth crime to unemployment to racism to capitalism to combatting apathy. There was a lot to take in on day 1 and by the end I hoped we hadn’t asked too much.
Day 2… had it been too much? who would return? But… everyone from day 1 showed up on time and we were off again. The vibe was keen, looser, and good. For this morning session, the group brought examples of something in culture which they found powerful and political. Music from K’Naan, Lowkey, Bashy, Within Temptation, Jill Scott, personal photos, photographs of life in Somalia, Anansi stories, a book by Gemma Malley… This built on what we had done yesterday where the artists had presented some work they had been influenced by, followed by discussion on how it works, why it works, for whom it works (or not)…
Then into artform groups – video documentary, music/DJ, writing/performance poetry. This was the moment we’d all been champing for – an outlet for all the talk, all the politics, and all the feelings that had been aroused… I participated in the first writing workshop. Free-writing which led to an outpouring of responses. Really powerful to be witness to it. Some tears, lots of applause. Cool calm encouraging comment from Zena and Simon and others in the group. Kernals of ideas that would be worked on, worked up. Me, I’d written a splurge about skinheads… got me going…
This post was written by Jane Trowell of PLATFORM Images by Zena Edwards